Rafael Nadal is looking forward to clay-court season, but says his job is not done yet in Miami

Rafael Nadal of Spain celebrates his win over Dudi Sela of Israel during the Miami Open at the Crandon Park Tennis Center on March 24, 2017 in Key Biscayne, Florida. (Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Transcript of Rafael Nadal’s presser after the Sela match.

Q. Congratulations. Talk about the conditions. The winds were crazy for a while. Talk about the conditions from the beginning of the match to the end.
RAFAEL NADAL: Yes, difficult to play this afternoon no? Been a very tough and long day for everyone I think. Rain delay a couple of times and then the wind was very, very high, no?

So difficult to find the right feelings this afternoon, but is these kind of days what you have to do is try to win. That’s what I did, and I am very happy with that.

Q. This is a tournament you’ve had great results for finals but haven’t taken the trophy yet. With Carlos Moya on board, is there a new strategy to play more aggressive from the baseline?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t think so, no? I think it’s always good thing to have Carlos on the bench. Having Carlos is a positive thing for me and for the rest of team, too. We are all excited about it, and he is coming with big motivation.

But I was close enough four times in my career. I going to try to give me more chances during this year and during the next couple years.

But this tournament is a tough tournament and anything can happen. I think I had a good week of practice, so I need it play good on the competition now to try to have success.

Q. I know you always get asked about your results here, your history here. When you look back at your results collectively, is there a sense of frustration because you’ve been so close or a sense of satisfaction because you’ve been so close?
RAFAEL NADAL: No, I don’t think a lot about that, no? I think I was four times in the final. Probably I should win the first one. 

Then I have another good chance, but I was completely (indiscernible) in the final against Novak. 6-5, 15-30, didn’t happen, and the other two finals I didn’t play very well, no?

I think probably even if I was not in the final, the year that I was closer to win was the year that I got injury against Roddick in that semifinals. Was winning – never easy against Andy, no – but I have the match a little bit under control and I get injury of my knee, no, and then I lost in three sets.

I was playing great that year. I thought that was my year. But in tennis is always the same. Life the same. You have opportunities. If you don’t convert these opportunities, then it’s tough, no?

But I am still playing tennis and I am still here fighting for the things that motivates me. My motivation is play enough well to have chances here.

Q. Did you ever think that at this point in your career you and Roger would be kind of the talk of the tournament again as battling for supremacy of this title and possibly the top of tennis with Novak and Andy hurt right now? Is that kind of crazy for you? What?
RAFAEL NADAL: The year just start. We have nine Masters 1000s; we only played one. We have four Grand Slams; we only played one. We have a lot of 500 tournaments; we only played couple of them.

So it’s true that Roger start unbelievable and that’s great. Is true that probably Andy and Novak didn’t start as well as they did last couple of years.

But in my opinion, they are probably favorites because they have been there for the last couple of years playing more consistently than what we did.

So it’s very early. I feel that I am playing well. I can talk about myself. It’s obvious that Roger is playing great, but the year just started. Just let’s see what happens here, and let’s see what happens especially for me after this tournament that I have five tournaments that probably – not the most important of the year, but one of the most important.

Q. Congratulations. Last year at this tournament you played doubles with Fernando Verdasco. This year, you’re not playing doubles. Any particular reason? Why did you play doubles last year at this tournament?
RAFAEL NADAL: We were trying to prepare for Olympics. Finally we didn’t play. I play with Marc. The idea was to play with Fernando, so we were playing here and Indian Wells and trying to play couple tournaments. It’s not the case of this year. This year is not an Olympic year.

I played in Indian Wells. I have been away from home five weeks almost already, so I want to make sure that when I finish my singles I want to come back, rest a little bit, and adapt my body and my game step by step to the clay again.

Main goal for me is try to not get injury, have no injuries, be healthy. So the transitions between courts, between surfaces, needs to be step by step. Is true that I had a lot of times in my career drastic changes, but is obvious that that, for the body, is not positive. For me knees especially are not positive. Are very dangerous, these changes, these drastic changes.

So I want to make sure that if I get injury I get injury, but I am trying to do the best way possible everything.

Q. Rafa, since you mentioned the most important part of your season is probably coming.
RAFAEL NADAL: Sorry?

Q. Since you mentioned yourself that the most important part of your season is coming in the near future, do you feel you’re playing at the level where you could win the French again? What would another French Open title mean for you?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know, no? I never think about the French. I think about Miami now. When I finish that, I going to think about having some days off, and then thinking about adapt my game to the clay again.

I know if I am playing well and I am able to find the right feelings on clay I am with confidence. I think I am playing well this year, better than the last couple years. So when that happened, I had chances on clay. That’s my goal. Roland Garros is still five tournaments away. For sure is an important event for me.

But I know that to play well in Roland Garros I need to play well in the previous tournaments on clay.

Q. You’ve been a vocal supporter of this tournament. Do you think it has a future here on Key Biscayne with the condition of the facility and the challenges we all know the tournament organizers have had trying to upgrade things?
RAFAEL NADAL: I don’t know. I don’t know exactly. I cannot say things that I don’t know very well. It’s obvious that all the tournaments need improvement. I know this tournament had some troubles to make that happen, but it’s obvious too that, for example, the players area for having lunch improved a lot area last two years I think. I don’t remember last year. I was only one day.

But this year I was able to have lunch here, and this is important for the players, that the things are improving. In terms of food, improved a lot from a couple of years ago. That’s a good improvement for us.

So is true that we need more courts probably, but I don’t know the situation, how it is, no? I think the place is nice, beautiful, and will be great if that can stay here. The most important thing is the tournament stays in Miami. Miami is city well-known all around the world. Is important that we have our bigger tournaments in important cities.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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94 thoughts on “Rafael Nadal is looking forward to clay-court season, but says his job is not done yet in Miami

  1. Regarding favoritism of Federer… Almost all the commentators favor him… Brett Harper needs to keep his opinion to himself…. While Frances Tiafoe was playing Roger he went on & on how Roger was the greatest of all time and what an Ambastor he is to tennis. He never gives Rafa a complement … but will poke fun of his rituals that he goes through… I can’t stand him … He reminds me of the penguin in Batman plus his voice is so Monotone & soooo boring! He is commentating today (yuck) along with Lindsay Davenport, who is a fabulous Commentator!

    Like

    1. Margo

      Instead of nurse, comedy? Sooo funny is your comment.
      I know you wanted to say Federer is an “ambassador” so was that a Freudian slip … for “bast—?” May get thrown off if I spell it out. LOL Instead of typo I’m voting Freudian. 🙊

      RAFA ROCKS

      Like

      1. Margo

        No Freudian slip? 😩

        We know how great Rafa is. We don’t need commentators to drivel all about him.

        RAFA ROCKS

        Like

  2. ANAKE Kasatri

    Miami open has its own beauty as does has Rafa. Today,March18, Rafa Nadal is playing Mahut who is a talented tricky player.Hope both Kay their game and make it an exciting for the Audience.Hope Rafa will be more aggressive and sharper and calm.

    Like

  3. Vy

    Great play from Del Potro to survive first service game. I’m pulling hard for him these days, practically against everyone, except for Rafa of course. But this Fed is still dangerous. And he’s SO in love with his BH right now (not that he’s ever been not in love with his game) :D.

    Like

  4. Susie

    Hi Maria. Thanks so much for the adjusted times. It’s difficult at work to log onto my phone so much appreciated. 8.30pm is doable and I’ve turned a corner with nick I think so will see how long i last with that match but I’d like to watch him play. I’ve seen rafa lose many sets but never seem him bagelled and I still am reeling from it. All was well in the end. I was a bit worried about you as you’d gone very quiet at one point but I know you said you were at a loss for words. It was scary but we survived. I hope I never see him bagelled again though!

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  5. Susie

    Lol Maria – the hair pulling transplant reference is very good. Do you know what time Delpo plays Roger? Ive been told 11pm UK time but I usually get it wrong. I’m still reeling from yesterday I have to admit

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    1. Maria (England)

      Hi Susie , the times below are up on scoreboard tennis but i have just been on sky spot and their times are 8.30 Roger and 10.30 Kyrgios, I’m thinking Scoreboards​ are out an hour because of the clock change and they haven’t adjusted it yet. the hair comment was just light hearted banter ,no offense meant , 100% behind him on his decision

      Like

  6. Mac

    After the first set, I threw my TV across the room and went to bed.

    OK not quite. I turned off the TV and tried to go to sleep, ruling Rafa out of my life forever:) But after a few minutes, like always happens in such situations, I thought, Rafa needs me (yea I know, of course he doesn’t)! And there I was in front of the TV again, watching as the Rafa I’ve come to know and love, did what I’ve come to expect of him. WHEW!

    Seriously, if Philip had kept up the intensity of the first set, Rafa would now be warming up for the clay season. Good on Rafa for turning it around. But he needs to keep such displays such as the first set to a minimum. Against players for example the Kyrgios who played Djokovic in Indian Wells with that unrelenting intensity, it would be Game Over for Rafa.

    Good luck next match Rafa. Stay focused!

    PS, who correctly predicted that Raonic would withdraw with an injury? Poor guy.

    Like

    1. Mac… I had to laugh,I did exactly the same thing! Four love & off went the TV. ( I did not want to see Rafa get bageled) I went shopping and when I looked up the score on my phone, Rafa was up 4/2 second set… I rushed home just in time to see him win! I have said over and over it’s never a walk in the park for Rafa… It’s always a nail biting, heart palpitating time for me! Even though he got bageled… The Miami fans were treated to a very exciting match & they were delighted at the outcome!

      Like

  7. Maria (England)

    Gosh, that was match and a half yesterday Rafa certainly put us through the wringer ,gods knows what his family were thinking and feeling after that first set, don’t want another match like that ( ever) . Hopefully his next match will be an easier ride . Grey hair don’t know about that ,at times i felt like pulling my hair out , if the second set had gone the same way , it wouldn’t just be Rafa having a hair transplant . Luckily we all have a day to recover before we put ourselves all through it again but of course Rafa is worth it. Good luck Rafa ,after yesterday you can pull anything off .

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  8. Rafantastic

    Margo, “ByTheMinute” is now added to my collection of Rafa/tennis apps on my phone and you’re right – It’s great. Thanx for telling med about it 😊👍🏻
    Have a nice day ☀️🌷

    RAFA TOTALLY ROCKS!! 🎾💪🏼

    Like

    1. Margo

      Rafantastic, you’re very welcome but I give credit where credit is due. It was Beverley who told me about it. She is sooo full of wisdom and great information, IMHO.

      So glad you are taking advantage of it as others are taking advantage of Scoreboard.

      RAFA ROCKS

      Like

      1. Thanks for your kind words, Margo. I am glad you and Rafantastic are enjoying bytheminute.. I only came across it last week and was so pleased to find a site where there were live commentaries to follow.
        Flashscores used to have live commentaries also until the past couple of years then they just gave scores and I was so disappointed .
        Harrowing as the first set was in Rafa’s match against Kolshreiber, at least we could follow what was happening. To just see the scores coming up in a match like that and having no idea what was going on would have been even worse. !!
        Here’s hoping the match against Mahut will be easier on the nerves.

        Like

      2. Margo

        You’re welcome, Beverley. We are happy campers. If plan A doesn’t work, at least we have B, C, and …… LOL

        RAFA ROCKS

        Like

  9. Susie

    Hi Vy dont get me wrong. I have nothing against Federer at all, I just don’t want him to win miami after ao and Indian wells. And I’m afraid I am stuck with disliking novak as I’ve watched him for nearly 10 years and he continually let’s himself down – bad attitude for someone at the top. Maybe he shld learn from Rafa. Off to work for a break from tennis. Lol

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  10. Susie

    Oh look Vy they all have bags under their eyes and they are all grey! Lol – that did make me laugh. Yes you can call me susie – although I have been called a lot worse in my time. I’m glad rafa won as if he had lost all I could think about was Federer winning another title – which may still happen. But i really don’t want to see that. Although I don’t dislike the guy and like Maria England we keep all our dislike for novak, I get so fed up with everyone fawning over Roger and the way he laps it up is a little distasteful. So cmon rafa we want a rematch with Roger and we want you to take him out this time. Right I really am going to bed as there is a little matter of work in the morning. I’m hopeful RNF will give us match times against Mahut?? If not as soon as anyone knows, please let us know. Thanks and goodnight again.

    Like

    1. Glad you had a lol before bed, Susie. 😀

      I was in fact asking for your “permission” to call you “Dear Susie” since remembering that particular photo made me feel warm :-).

      Rafa’s next match will be on Tuesday. The Order of Play will be updated on the official website tomorrow morning or later, local time.

      Fed and Novak are actually nice and decent guys (Novak less so in the nice apartment buy still), Susie. Like Rafa they’ve been working really hard and just trying to win as much as they can in the game the love so much, where winning is everything and it’s so taxing both mentally and physically.

      I know it’s hard but I hope one day you can warm up to them, you know, more like making peace with yourself and being able to see what you might have missed. I’ve always liked Fed to vavious degrees at times (one big part of it is because of his relationship with Rafa) and I’ve warmed up to Novak after reading his autobiography. PLUS their talents are something need to be admired by all. Beating Rafa is their job and so is Rafa’s beating them. It’s only all fair in the end.

      And if you still don’t find it convincing enough, just follow Rafa’s lead :-).

      Right now I don’t want another Fedal, especially here. Of course it would be so sweet if Rafa can win the title against Fed but something still seems to be bothering Rafa and I don’t want to take another chance where Rafa might get another painful beating by a skyhigh confident Fed. At least for the time being.

      Good night again, Susie and everyone. 🌌🌠🌛

      Like

      1. Maria (Siberia)

        Dear Vy, if I were you, I would still pray for yet another Fedal or would you rather a
        Potrodal (JMDP vs Nadal). While it may look highly unlikely, I have this gut feeling that Nadal would ‘upset’ Roger this 4th time around.

        So, let’s pray that Roger would exit JMDP later today.

        Nadal, I’m hoping, should fear no fall again, having ‘resurrected’ from defeat to overcome P. Schoshrieber. Yes, Nadal’s game is currently in tatters, but I av this gut feeling that if he can overcome Kei Nishikori, he would have good chances of turning the table against RF.

        But as always, we’d see………………….hmmmnn

        Like

  11. VAMOS SWEETHEART!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) Beautiful victory!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) Keep smiling sweetheart!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) Lots of love & happiness dear Rafa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) LOVED EVERYTHING ABOUT YOUR MATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) ; ) : ) : ) WATCHING YOUR PASSION AND BRILLIANT STRONG DETERMINATION WAS INCREDIBLY SPECIAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) NO ONE HAS YOUR PRECIOUS FIGHTING SPIRIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) Enjoy your beautiful victory & have lots of fun with your nice family and THE TEAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) 🙂 Very happy for you!~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) Have a beautiful celebration and a nice evening !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) Good night & sweet dreams!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) 😉 : ) : ) : ) YOU ARE IT in TENNIS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) With capital I & T and unbelievable style and sportsmanship!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) We love you sweetheart and so happy for your fantastic Tennis!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) : ) : ) : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : ) VAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! : )

    Like

  12. I must admit I took the defeatist attitude after the loss of the first set and thought ” this is the end of Miami for Rafa.” Shame on me.!!! Rafa never takes the defeatist attitude. He re covered beautifully in the next two sets and I, of course , recovered with him.
    But that does not take away from my lack of faith in him after set 1.
    Forgive me, Rafa. Congratulations on your win, and your determination.

    Like

    1. Margo

      I went to the kitchen to prepare dinner but came back at 2-0 in the second. Then I sighed a sigh of relief. What did I say about his wild rollercoaster rides.

      RAFA ROCKS

      Like

  13. mjus

    as a rafa fan the spaniard is driving me nuts sometimes. The first set was the worst set i ever saw him playing. Kohlschreiber was taking the ball early and hitting the ball deep. Copying the tactic of federer murray and djokovic and querry. Rafa doesnt know how to react. He keeps playing the same tactic. I also did not see him hitting forehand down the line or backhand down the line. Why is he not doing that really sometimes he is driving me and other rafa fans nuts. I do not see him winning the title. If he wants to win this he needs to take the ball early stand on the baseline and improve his return and put more depth in his shots and also hit the ball down the line

    Like

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